Why do you want to be an actor? It’s the first question I ask anyone who comes to interview with me. Why are you interested in committing to serious professional actor training? This is my second question, and the answers to both carry a great deal of weight in my decision to train a prospective student. If you are actually taking the time to read this, perhaps you too are considering the life of a professional actor. My advice? Do something else. Really.
The lack of steady income, the nomadic existence, the years of getting by with odd jobs, the ridicule from family and friends, and the extraordinary odds of actually sustaining paid work, make it a poor career choice. If you want the slightest chance of overcoming these obstacles, the desire to live an artistic life must course through every cell in your body. For most aspiring actors, the fantasy is far more appealing than the actual hard work of making it happen. When it comes to acting, its not readily apparent what that hard work requires.
“Our culture has reduced acting to a cheap way of satiating the need for attention.”
It starts with a commitment to artistry. Craft does not entail memorizing lines the way you’d like to say them, and practicing in the mirror to get the best facial expressions. If you really crave the ability to do more than extra work, then you should answer a few questions. Would you like to able to create organic, vivid, human behavior? Do you want to possess the ability to be fully present, not in your head, spontaneous, improvisational, and malleable to the nuances of moment to moment work? Would you like to have a physical instrument that is capable of processing rich experience without tension? The vocal clarity and diction to express the gamut of human experience? Do you want consistency in your work? Would you like to have the skill to take any script and not look at it with a blank stare, wondering what to do beyond memorizing the lines? Do you want to be comfortable expressing your rage, heartbreak, joy, silliness, sensuality, embarrassment, humiliation, and fear? Are you interested in knowing the great plays, playwrights, films, actors, and artists who have contributed something substantial to their art form? Do you want to be taken seriously?
If your answer to any of these questions is not a resounding yes, you are just someone who thinks acting is cool. You are not an actor, and certainly no artist; at least not one of any substance or skill. Its very hard to be an artist in this country. Our superficial pop-culture reduces everything to the lowest common denominator. The young crave fame and celebrity, and we have reduced acting to a cheap way of satiating the need for attention. But the craft of acting is beautiful, and incredibly challenging for those that want to be truly exceptional. So why do you want to be an actor? And are you really willing to commit to serious professional actor training? How you answer these two questions says a great deal about what you really want.
For more information about the Two Year Acting Program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio, contact the studio directly by calling (917) 789-1599.